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James Scott Bumgarner
Best known as "James Garner"
Apr 7, 1928 - Jul 19, 2014
Posted by Jo Aguirre
James Garner in 1959
James Garner in 1987
James Scott Bumgarner, known as James Garner to his
millions of TV and Movie fans, was born April 7, 1928 in
Norman Oklahoma to Mildred Scott Meek Bumgarner and
Weldon Warren Bumgarner. He was the youngest of their
three sons. James passed away at his home in Los
Angeles on July 19, 2014 at the age of 86 from acute
myocardial infarction.After making his film debut in 1956, he appeared in
movies and T V roles until 2005. He was possibly best
known in his TV roles as Bret Maverick in the 1950's and
Jim Rockford in the 70's series The Rockford Files.
He starred in more than 50 movies in his career and for
his contribution to the movie and TV industry, he
received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was
inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma
City in 1990. The same year, he was also inducted into
the Television Hall of Fame. In 2005, he received the
Screen Actor's Guild Lifetime Achievement Award. He was
also nominated in 2005, for Outstanding Performance by a
Male Actor in a Supporting Role for The Notebook.
His mother died when he was 5 years old and the boys
were sent to live with relatives until their father
remarried in 1934. His father divorced and moved to
California when he was 14, but the boys remained in
Norman. James joined the Merchant Marines at the age of
16, but soon found out he suffered from chronic
At the age of 17, he joined his father in California and
enrolled in Hollywood High School. He was recommended
for a job modeling bathing suits earning $ 25. an hour.
He declined the modeling position and moved back to
Oklahoma enrolling in Norman High School. He played
football, basketball and also competed in track and
golf. He did not graduate from high school there, but
did get his diploma while he was in the Army.He joined the National Guard and served 7 months in the
states. He also served in the U S Army in Korea for 14
months serving in the 5th Regimental Combat Team during
the Korean War. He was wounded twice and received
Purple Hearts for both injuries. He was a self
described scrounger, a role he later played in two of
2010, he received the annual Career Achievement award
from the Television Critics Association.
He also had an autobiography published in 2011, The
Garner Files: A Memoir.
On April 21, 2006, the city of Norman erected a ten foot
tall bronze statue in his honor showing him as Bret
Maverick. He was present for the ceremony. He was a
proud supporter of the O U Sooners and frequently
returned for school functions. When he was there, he
could be seen on the sidelines or in the press box.
James was married to Lois Josephine Fleischman Clarke on
August 17, 1956 after a 14 day courtship. She had a 7
year old daughter, Kim, from a previous marriage. They
had a daughter, Greta "Gigi" Garner. He passed away a
month before their 58th anniversary.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers:
Actor, Jack Garner in 2011 and school administrator,
Charles Bumgarner in 1984.
rewritten due to copyright - source Wikipedia. Can we
use photos from there too? I was thinking we can as
long as we show it since it is a public site.
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